Bengaluru FC have announced the signing of Indian international and defender Sandesh Jhingan on a one-year contract ahead of the new season.
This is the second time Jhingan will be in BFC colours. He played for BFC in the I-League, Federation Cup and the AFC Cup in 2017 on loan from Kerala Blasters. Sandesh won the Federation Cup with Bengaluru that year.
In a surprise reveal, the 29-year-old centre-back turned up for the open training session held Sunday morning at the Bangalore Football Stadium amidst the BFC faithful.
Born in Chandigarh, Jhingan spent his formative years at the famed St. Stephen’s Football Academy. The Chandigarh-based academy has also produced two-time AIFF Emerging Player of the Year Anriudh Thapa and the 2019-20 AIFF Player of the Year Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
In 2011, Sandesh signed his first professional contract with Bhaichung Bhutia’s United Sikkim FC who were competing in the 2nd Division League. He helped them win promotion to the I-League in 2012 and left the club after they were relegated from the 2012-13 I-League.
After leaving United Sikkim, the centre-back turned up for the now dissolved Mumbai FC in the 2013-14 I-League following which he joined newly-minted Kerala Blasters in the ISL in July, 2014. He won the Emerging Player of the League that season and helped the Blasters reach the final where they lost to ATK.
Sandesh continued to be a constant presence at Kerala Blasters over the next few years and during off-season was loaned out to Sporting Clube de Goa, DSK Shivajians and Bengaluru FC. The 2019-20 season was a forgettable one for Sandesh after he picked up a cruciate ligament injury while on international duty. He was ruled out for the entire season and left KBFC towards the end of the season by mutual consent.
Prior to the start of the 2020-21 season, ATK Mohun Bagan signed the defender on a record-breaking five-year contract reportedly worth around six crore rupees. He made 22 appearances during the season and helped ATKMB reach the ISL final and also picked up the AIFF Player of the Year 2020-21.
Although tied down to a long-term contract at ATK Mohun Bagan, Jhingan had a clause in his contract that would allow him to move to a European club if an offer came along. ATKMB accommodated his request when Croatian top-tier club HNK Šibenik signed him on a one-year deal with an option to extend by another year.
However, his stint at HNK Šibenik came to an abrupt end after a few months due to injury and he returned to ATK Mohun Bagan in January 2022. Following the end of the season, Sandesh was deemed surplus to requirements by Head Coach Juan Ferrando and was released by the club recently.
Last season, Jhingan featured in nine matches. Overall in the ISL, he has made a total of 107 appearances.
For the national team, he made his debut in 2015 and helped the Indian team to the Hero Intercontinental Cup in 2018. He was conferred with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India in for “outstanding achievement in sports.” The 6’2″ defender has been capped 46 times for the Indian NT.